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College of Design

Monday, May 26, 2014

Portfolio Polishing

Now that the semester is over, I've finally had some time to fix up my portfolio and make it look a bit more professional. I just added the photos from my last surface design project, which you can take a look at here. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, especially considering that they were taken on a coffee table in my living room using a bed sheet and a work lamp for some makeshift lighting.

For the projects that didn't include a printed component (or that I just didn't feel like photographing) I've began to create photoshop mockups that give the designs a bit more context. Mockups are great tools for graphic designers and allow clients to preview what a design will actually look like in its finished state. There are tons of mockup templates available online that you can download for free and use for your own projects. They're super easy to customize and only take a couple minutes to complete. Below I've included before and after images of a basic poster mockup that I recently added to my portfolio. If you'd like to learn a bit more about how to create your own, you can take a look at this online tutorial!

Graphic Design


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What an Amazing Time it has Been!

Well, I cannot believe it but I am finally able to say I have graduated with my undergraduate architecture bachelor of science degree! I still don't really feel as if I have graduated. It seems very surreal - like I am just on another summer break and will be starting school again in the fall (some day I will be back to begin my M'Arch degree!). The graduation ceremony was wonderful. It felt bittersweet lined up in Northrop with all of my classmates (and the entire graduating class from the College of Design). The ceremony was filled with wonderful speeches as well as a lot of excitement as we watched our friends walk across the stage. Afterward, I posed for a photo with my closest friends from the program. I will ALWAYS stay in touch with them - I feel like I've grown up with them in a sense.


What do I do with all of my free time now? Well, I still don't even know! I am focusing on work and truly enjoying being able to get out and enjoy the beginnings of summer. I plan to stay involved in the architecture community as much as possible and I hope to return to Rapson again. I truly will miss my second home, but I wish the best for all of the students who still reside there. It has been an amazing time and a great four years filled with passion, tears, excitement, wonderful friendships and unforgettable opportunities.

I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with my blogs and I encourage you to continue following the architectural blogger for next year - they will be great!

All the best,
B.S. in Architecture

Round 2: Complete

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It's hard to believe I am FINALLY done with my Second Year here at the U! I encountered many new experiences this past year and successfully completed them. Now that I am more than half done with my undergrad career, I can honestly say I could not be happier with my decision to study Landscape Architecture, especially here at the U. Why is that you ask?

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1. The majority of my classes have around 30 students. This has allowed me to make valuable connections with other students and receive the help I need from professors. The support system I have formed here has been an important part in all of my successes.

2. The Twin Cities has many great opportunities to study landscape architecture through its comprehensive park system, but it also offers many chances for cultural activities. The museums and theaters are must sees!

3. I have had the opportunity the enhance my creativity and strategic thinking skills through the College of Design. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be drawing and sketching as much as I have! Don't get me wrong, I am extremely happy about it. If you look at the two drawings on this page, you can see how much progress I made in my skills in LESS THAN ONE WEEK! During our study abroad program, we were sketching EVERY day. Some days I didn't want to, but I kept at it. The sketch on the left was my first in Venice and the one on the right was on the last day. To me, this shows that with a little patience and dedication anyone can improve their skills.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog posts this year as much as I have writing them! Have a wonderful summer, and make sure to get out and enjoy all of the places the Twin Cities has to offer.

Landscape Design & Planning

Monday, May 19, 2014



I can't believe I'm officially graduated from the University of Minnesota! It was such a surreal day. I'm so happy that I was able to share this special day with my wonderful family and friends!


Congratulations ADes Class of 2014

I survived finals week and completed my 2nd year in the Apparel Design program. Summer break has now officially begun! The past couple of days have been filled with commencement ceremonies for all the different colleges within the U of M. Commencement for the College of Design was this last Saturday, which I was able to help out with, and it was held inside the newly renovated Northrop. I don't know what it looked like before, but I all I can say is that it is beautiful inside and the theater is amazing. It was great to see all the people graduating, especially the ADes class of 2014. Of course, the Apparel Design students have a special place in my heart, and being able to see them be rewarded for all their hard work by watching them walk across the stage felt great. Things like this keep my hard work going, because I know eventually that will be me walking across that stage. I'm halfway there and I know that the next 2 years will probably fly by quickly.

Congratulations class of 2014 and for the ADes Class of 2014, I know that you all will achieve greatness! I'm so proud of all of you!

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Make sure to follow my blog at and also look for my pics on the UMNDesign Instagram!

Apparel Design

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Big Things!

My first year at the U of M is over, and it is so unreal. The past nine months have been a blast. I have learned so much about the world of housing from really awesome professors. I have made lots of good friends that I will be sure to see in the future. And I have learned a little bit more about what it means to be an adult, taking on more responsibilities and making my own decisions.

My good friend Peggy and I presented our development proposal for the City of North St. Paul a week ago. It was nice to see our final ideas come together so nicely.

I end this year very grateful for the Housing Studies major. It is allowing me to gain the skills needed to pursue a career in helping people. Specifically, I want to help those who are homeless or who face discrimination acquire affordable, adequate housing; everyone deserves a home.


It is not the end, but rather, another beginning. It's a new day! More adventures to be had. More friends to be made. More knowledge to be acquired. Don't let the world get you down, because life is so good!

Stay classy Minnesota,
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Looking Forward

With final projects and exams all wrapped up, I'm excited to say that I've officially completed my sophomore year of college! The year flew by so fast, it's hard to believe it's already over. Over the past few months I've met some amazing people, grown even closer with my friends here at the U, and developed so much as a designer.

Although I'm a bit sad to see this semester go, I'm really looking forward to my summer at the zoo and have already started planning for next fall. I'm really excited for my upcoming classes and am happy to announce that I've accepted a fall position as Head Designer at The Wake Student Magazine.


For those of you who aren't familiar with The Wake, it's a bi-weekly, student-operated magazine that covers events going on around the University of Minnesota. All the reporting, writing, editing, and artwork for the magazine are done by students, and anyone who's interested can sign up to write, regardless of their previous journalism experience (or lack thereof).

As head designer, I'll be responsible for the overall look of the publication. We're planning to give the current design a major update, and I already have some ideas bouncing around in my head! If you'd like to get involved with The Wake, or just want to check out their latest issue, you can see their website here or at the link posted above.

Graphic Design


My freshman year of college is officially over! It's summer and I'm writing this post sitting out in the sun. It feels great! But the end of the year didn't come without finishing up a lot of work

First of all, there were finals. Those speak for themselves. With a few hours of studying I was prepared and ready to go. They went pretty well I think but of course you never know for sure until you get the grade back! A lot of people were moving out of the dorms all week and it was really weird seeing people go and the year coming to an end.

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There was also portfolio review. On Monday all the pre-interior design students went in for an hour to set up our portfolios and display all the work we had done this year. On the right you can see my display. That day the faculty of the department looked through all of our work and a few days later I got an email saying I had passed! I'm now officially an interior design major!

After the stressful week of finals, portfolio review, and moving out. It's great to not have to do anything. I have a second interview coming up at Hom Furniture later this week and soon I should know if I have the job for the summer!

Wish me luck and have an amazing summer!

Interior Design (officially!!!)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Surviving Finals

With finals just around the corner, my stress level is steadily climbing towards its peak. I not only have three huge final exams coming up, but also my final Surface Design project to complete. During such a difficult time, everyone can use a helping hand, which is why I'd like to devote this entry to one of my favorite study tools -

This website is a great resource for both college and high school students, and has helped me cram for (and pass) more finals than I care to admit. It allows users to create separate flashcard decks for each of their courses, and keeps track of them in an online account, or "digital backpack." You can also share cards that other students have created for the same class, which is a huge time saver. The site keeps track of your flashcard results, marking each one that you got right or wrong. Over time it generates a chart to show your progress, identifying which cards should be studied more.

In addition to its functional benefits, the site has a great user interface and overall look. As a graphic student, I can't help but appreciate such good design! I've included some images of it below, but I would definitely recommend visiting the site for yourself. Hopefully you find it as helpful as I have!

Graphic Design


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bittersweet Review

Today was my very last studio review for my undergraduate career. Normally, review is something students prepare for weeks and months in advance. We carefully craft our designs, focusing on the whole and then the details. Students spend hours diligently perfecting their models, rendering images and practicing their thesis to showcase their work. There is always a sense of relief after a review (and a hope for a night's break from homework), especially if it went well. I did have a sense of relief, but there was also a bittersweet moment as the realization set in. Until graduate school, I will not have another studio review. I will miss seeing my studio friends often and I will certainly miss the studio culture at Rapson. I hope to keep in touch with friends as we each begin our journeys after graduation (which is only one week away!).

Here is a section cut of my building (an organization that pays tribute to the column/grid structure of the Lowertown warehouses).


Yesterday was the first day of my internship at BWBR. Everyone there is so welcoming and friendly! I have a mentor there who helps me get settled in for the first couple of weeks. We went out to lunch yesterday and she is planning on showing me the St. Paul skyway system tomorrow. I am already assigned to a project helping organize architectural drawings for a client. My desk is empty as of now - I have to think of some great things to fill it in over the next few months.

I look forward to telling more great stories about my internship during the next few weeks.

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Where Do I Go From Here?

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Giycek_69.jpgIt's a bittersweet day here in Istanbul. Today is my last day here. In less than 24 hours I'll be surrounded by my loving family and friends, tacos, and bacon. As excited as I am for all this, I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness in my heart knowing that my study abroad experience is ending. This chapter of my life is over, all that needs to happen is for me for turn the page and begin the next. But before I do, I want to take a moment and flip back through the pages of the previous chapter.

It all started in Paris: Lights, being submersed in a foreign language, seeing iconic architecture for the first time and having the ability and opportunity to touch it with my own hands. I was learning how to define myself while being miles away from my home.

Then it was on to Rome, with trips to Orvieto, Florence, and Venice. Here I was surrounded by ruins from times past and the challenge of moving forward while preserving them. I had all the gelato I could ever imagine, leather goods and masks, and never thought twice about eating an entire pizza alone. This continued my exploration into new cultures, and showed me that sometimes iconic places can be stunning.

Finally I ended in Istanbul with a Spring Break trip to Cappadocia. I don't think words will ever be able to explain how much this city has changed me. Mosques, scooters, chai, simit, a trip to Asia, and crazy topo changes will forever be ingrained in my memories. It may not have ever been a place I thought I would study in, but looking back, I could not imagine myself going anywhere else. I know many will ask me why I loved Istanbul so much, but I will never be able to explain this city to them and do it justice. All I know is that Istanbul will forever hold a place in my heart.

Landscape Design & Planning

Monday, May 5, 2014

My A-Game

It is officially the last week of classes before finals week. Am I panicking? Just a lot. The list of projects and papers that need to be completed before finals, is small, but the projects that are due, are big. I'm not going to lie, when I say that once finals week is over, I will be so relieved. On a more interesting and lighter note, I got a huge surprise this weekend. I walk into the building to see my image from the Align Senior Fashion show on a poster for the Fashion and Communication Symposium. I was shocked to see such a big poster of me. If I make it big, which I plan on, I guess I'll have to get use to seeing my image everywhere. It is also a lesson for everyone else out there. You never know who is watching and where your image will be used, so definitely have your A-game ready at all times.

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Make sure to follow my blog at and also look for my pics on the UMNDesign Instagram!

Apparel Design

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fake Business = Fun Design

In my last post I mentioned that my final project for Surface Design is a visual identity system based on the color and texture of ice dyed fabric. Now that the dyeing process is complete, I've spent the last week refining the complete concept for the business that it will represent. I've decided to create an identity for a fictitious fabric store called LOOM that specializes in hand-woven and dyed fabrics, featuring regular collections by local textile artists. I know that it's a pretty specific niche business and that it might not be successful in the real world, but that's the beauty of designing for a fake business - it doesn't have to be plausible. It just has to look good.

Below I've included a mock-up of a few business cards, which I'm currently working on screen printing as a color separation (hence the bitmap format):


I'm pretty happy with the look of the cards so far and plan to develop the rest of the visual identity system around them. I've decided to include a letter template, envelopes, paper bags, and a series of product labels. I'll only be screen printing a few of the components to fulfill the project requirements, and the rest will be digitally printed to save a bit of time. I can't wait to share the final product with you!

Graphic Design

Oh my!

It's coming down to it. I have got so much to do in these last few days. 9 to be exact... not that I'm counting down ;)

It's times like these that I remember that school can be kind of tough. But I guess I must be doing something right, because I got an award!


It is very encouraging and I'm glad that the College of Design takes time to recognize the hard work of its faculty and students.

Already good news plus more good news! I get to go home soon (this was not planned). And I get to see my lovely dog Tucker! All I gotta do first is get through final papers and exams. It won't be too bad when I've got this gorgeous thing to look forward too.


Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.


It's pretty bittersweet to say that this will be my last blog for the College of Design. Graduation is less than two weeks away and needless to say, I have about a million different emotions running through me. First, I am so grateful for my time and the U and all of the experiences here that have become invaluable. I've made what I believe are true lifelong friends and have been able to grow and learn so much more about myself. I'm excited to be closing this chapter and to begin a new one in Seattle with my boyfriend and (hopefully) finding a job in the retail industry. I'm sad to be saying goodbye to friends, co-workers, classmates, and most of all my family as I move across the country.

As my last two weeks at the University of Minnesota comes to a close, I can't say enough how happy I am that I chose the U of M and feel that I have really made the most out of my time here. I really don't know if I would have had these same experiences somewhere else. For any of you who are in the beginning of your college career, the biggest advice I have is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. I did that when I made the decision to study and do internships in NYC, and that has by far been one of my most impactful and valuable life experiences.

It has been such a pleasure writing this blog for all of you current or potential retail merchandising majors. I truly wish all of you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do!

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ps. this pic is me with my family on move in day freshman year!

Stay Fabulous,

Finishing Off The Year

Portfolio review and finals week are just around the corner! It's the last week of classes and for the next three days I'll be working to finish up final projects and prepare my portfolio.
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For interior design studio we just turned in part one of our final project (pictured on right) and now we are building our 3D models to turn in Wednesday! Once it's done it'll look awesome and be worth all the time invested in the final project. Color class is finishing off with a final design and the preparation of our complete portfolio with all the class projects. Then comes the time to gather all the projects over the course of the year and put them together for portfolio review!

There's a lot to do these last two weeks that I'm here and I'd be lying if I said it was smooth sailing and I'm not stressed. I'm very stressed! But time management is key to making it through finals and portfolio preparation. Here is a short list of suggestions for time management that I think are helpful in staying on track so that those all-nighters don't actually have to happen!

I hope everyone is finishing off the year strong! Just keep in mind that summer is ALMOST here, we can do it!

Interior Design